Cover photo for Elizabeth "Betsy" Lawrence's Obituary
Elizabeth "Betsy" Lawrence Profile Photo
1925 Elizabeth 2019

Elizabeth "Betsy" Lawrence

August 17, 1925 — November 27, 2019

Elizabeth (Betsy) W. Lawrence

August 17, 1925 - November 27, 2019

Betsy was born on August 17, 1925 in Seattle, Washington, to Elizabeth Bayley Willis and Cecil D. Willis. Betsy was the second of four daughters, Mary (Willis) Randlett, Betsy, Priscilla "Petie" (Willis) Baldwin and Pamela (Willis) Price. Betsy's parents divorced in 1937 and her mother traveled the world collecting textiles and serving as curator and assistant director at galleries around the country. While her mother traveled, Betsy lived with her grandparents, Mary Bass Bayley and Frank Sawyer Bayley, on Queen Anne Hill. Betsy loved her grandparents dearly, and affectionately referred to her grandmother as "Huh Huh," the answer she would often give to Betsy and her sisters as they asked their multitude of questions throughout the day.

Betsy attended public school in Seattle and went to Whitman College for her undergraduate degree. She was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and received an A.B. degree in 1947. At Whitman she met her future husband of 67 years, William "Bill" Lawrence of Everett, Washington. They married in the summer of 1947, honeymooning on Orcas Island and then moving immediately to the lower east side of Manhattan so that Bill could pursue his studies at the Columbia University School of Social Work. For Betsy who had spent her entire life in the peaceful northwest, this was true culture shock!

Bill's working career had the family move a few times, from New York to Kansas City, back to New York, to Washington D.C, back to New York again, and finally to Ann Arbor Michigan. During this time Betsy and Bill had three boys, Scott Walker Lawrence, Ross Fergusson Lawrence and Douglas Clayton Lawrence. Betsy was a loving and caring mother. She was also an excellent cook. Betsy was known particularly for her flaky pie crusts (with apple pies always a favorite).

In the little spare time she had, Betsy was an avid reader and enjoyed swimming, scrabble, crossword puzzles and jigsaw puzzles. She also enjoyed weaving on a large wooden shuttle loom that for a period of time occupied a significant part of the family room. In her later years she enjoyed making pottery.

With her love of books, Betsy decided to become a librarian and obtained her Master of Library Science from the University of Maryland in 1968. She then worked in the public library system in White Plains, NY from 1968 to 1972, and was head of Circulation and Automation at the Ann Arbor, MI Public Library from 1974 to 1986.

After Bill and Betsy retired, they moved back to Betsy's favorite place on earth, Washington. They made their home on Bainbridge Island where Betsy had spent much time during her youth. She had always wanted to return to Washington and she happily got her wish. By that time all three of her sons had also made the Seattle area their home, having heard regularly and clearly from their mother that this was the only place anyone would ever want to live.

Always looking for ways to contribute, Betsy volunteered for the Bainbridge Island library, the Kitsap Literacy Council, the Suquamish Tribal Library and the library at Grace Church on Bainbridge Island. She also enjoyed spending time at the Women's University Club in Seattle, where her grandmother "Huh Huh" had been a past president, and her mother and granddaughter Katie had also been members.

Betsy passed away peacefully on November 27, 2019.

Betsy is survived by her three sons, Scott (Susan) Lawrence of Bainbridge Island, Ross Lawrence of Vashon Island, and Douglas (Ramona) Lawrence of Sammamish; her four grandchildren, S. Christian Lawrence, Kathryn E. Beckwith, Bayley C. Lawrence and Elliot C. Lawrence; her two great-grandchildren, Cassandra H. Beckwith and Palmer C. Beckwith; and her sister Pamela Price. Betsy was preceded in death by her husband of 67 years, William C. Lawrence, her father, Cecil D. Willis, her mother Elizabeth Bayley Willis, and her sisters Mary Randlett and Priscilla Baldwin.

The family will be holding a private service for Betsy. Gifts in remembrance can be made to Literacy Source, Seattle, or the Women's University Club of Seattle.

Arrangements are entrusted to Cook Family Funeral Home on Bainbridge Island.

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